U.S. weighing options for Tunisia

Jan. 28, 2011 at 11:11 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Washington is exploring ways in which to help the Tunisian people have more influence over their future, a U.S. State Department spokesman said.

Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi overhauled much of the Cabinet for the transitional government in the wake of the resignation of the country's foreign minister. Few allies of ousted President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali remain after a protest suicide brought down his government.

Protests continued in the country despite the reshuffling of the government and pledges to embrace democratic reforms.

P.J. Crowley, a spokesman for the State Department, said Jeffery Feltman, the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, is on his way to Paris to work on the next step for Washington's relationship with Tunisia.

Washington sent Feltman to Tunisia to discuss political developments with the country's leaders.

Crowley, however, said what happens in the Tunisian government is a matter for the interim leadership in Tunis to decide.

"The particular structure of the interim government is a matter for Tunisia," he said during his regular press briefing. "We want to see a process continue that leads to democratic elections."

Tunisian authorities vowed to have democratic elections within six months.

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